Paris, Monday: Novak Djokovic defeated Karen Khachanov in straight sets to make the French Open quarter-finals for the 11th consecutive year on Monday while Sofia Kenin escaped trouble to also clinch a spot in the last eight.
Top seed and 2016 champion Djokovic won 6-4, 6-3, 6-3 against Russian 15th seed Khachanov to draw level with Rafael Nadal on a record 14 quarter-final appearances in Paris.
Djokovic faced his toughest assignment so far but Khachanov was unable to derail his bid to become the first man in half a century to win all four Grand Slam titles twice.
The Serb hit 44 winners and has yet to drop a set in the tournament, losing only 25 games in four rounds. He improved his record in 2020 to 35 wins against just one loss.
“It was a very even match, perhaps more difficult than the result showed,” said Djokovic, who is chasing an 18th Grand Slam title.
He admitted to suffering an “awkward moment of deja vu” after unintentionally hitting a ball which smashed into the head of a line judge while trying to return serve.
The incident came just weeks after Djokovic was defaulted at the US Open in New York for swiping angrily at a ball which hit a female line judge, standing just behind him, in the throat.
The world number one will face Pablo Carreno Busta, the man who benefited from Djokovic’s US Open disqualification, for a spot in the last four after the Spaniard swept German qualifier Daniel Altmaier aside in three sets. Stefanos Tsitsipas overcame an eye problem to become the first Greek man to reach the last eight of the French Open with a 6-3, 7-6 (11/9), 6-2 win over Grigor Dimitrov.
The 22-year-old will now take on Andrey Rublev in a repeat of the recent Hamburg final which was won by the Russian.
Fifth seed Tsitsipas has won 12 successive sets at the tournament having been two sets down to Jaume Munar in the opening round. Rublev, the 13th seed, also advanced to the quarter-finals for the first time after battling past Marton Fucsovics of Hungary 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-4, 7-6 (7/3). – AFP